Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

Ph: 02 6337 3988 | Email Enquires:

  • IC 2177 near Orion is a very faint but colourful region of the Milky Way. It is also known as the Seagull Nebula. Not my best image, but I was racing oncoming cloud and strong winds!
  • Comet R2 Panstarrs is again able to be imaged with the Moon out of the way. It is even fainter than it was before prior to my last image. It still has a very delicate blue gas tail! Image 4th Feb 2018.
  • The Moon passes into Earth's shadow on the evening of the 31st of January (a lunar eclipse). Perfectly safe for everyone to watch! The moon will become red to red brown during the total phase of the eclipse (due to light passing through Earth's atmosphere!). <br />
Here are the important times, note that they are Eastern Australian Daylight Saving times so adjust for your time zone! <br /><br />
The noticeable part of the eclipse commences at about 10:50pm when the Moon starts to enter Earth's dark shadow. <br /><br />
By about 11:50pm the moon is completely in Earth's shadow (the total phase where the moon looks red).<br /><br />
00:30am Is mid eclipse where the moon is at its darkest<br /><br />
01:07 am the moon starts to move out of Earth's shadow<br /><br />
2:10 am The Moon leaves the Earth's dark shadow.<br /><br />
The only issue.... There is a lot of cloud and perhaps rain forecast for the 31st for Eastern Australia. <br /><br />
The image is how the lunar eclipse of 2014 looked from Bathurst.
  • Here is the latest professional, artist impression of what the new observatory (in part) may look like. The big hold up is the lack of sale so far of the old place. Keen eyed people may notice I haven't included our little museum. It may be subject to being cut out if funding isn't available (funded out of my pocket, so something may have to go!). Don't forget, lunar eclipse night on the 31st. I will detail more in the coming week!
  • The delicate blue tail of comet R2 Panstarrs is visible in this image of the comet on the 15th of January. It is still VERY faint and again was hard to get the image.
  • Comet R2, Panstarrs is an exceedingly faint, but very interesting comet. It is very blue in colour due to high amounts of carbon monoxide it is releasing. Comets have a mix of gases and ices, but the excess of CO is not typical. The last comet seen like this was in 1962. Comet R2 is currently in Taurus but even a stretch for my telescope to image.
  • NGC 1566 is the wonderful spiral galaxy to the lower left. Elliptical galaxies NGC 1549 and NGC 1553 are to the upper right. The spiral is the closest at about 38 million light years away, while the two ellipticals are about twice that again! A wonderful region of the southern sky. I look forward to imaging these again at the new Billywillinga site!
  • The Moon on the 28th of December. Expected cloud (rain) over the next few days meant that I could just squeeze in a quick snap. I hope people that received a telescope for Christmas may have also been enjoying the moon as well.
  • I had set up the telescope to image automatically a few nights ago. While looking at the image today of the Horsehead Nebula, I noticed a strange object had travelling across the telescope's field of view. The object appears to be a small sleigh attached to reindeer shaped objects. I can only assume that it may in fact be Santa on a practice run for Christmas. I wish all our followers a Merry Christmas!
  • M42, The Great Orion Nebula! If you get a telescope for Christmas, have a look at the middle star of the sword of Orion for this wonderful star forming region.
  • One of the best meteor showers of the year (the Geminids) will be visible this week from after midnight until dawn on the 13th, 14th and perhaps 15th of December. (I recommend the 14th around 1am until 3am). This is a computer simulated view looking northwards from Australia to help you know which direction to look. Expect to see a few faint meteors and the occasional bright one!
  • Heavy rain has meant digging through the archives again. But below is the Pleiades, imaged late last year. If you are down under, look for them as a hazy patch of stars low in the north east not long after dark. Most people with good eyesight can count 6 or 7 stars in this group. The image shows what they look like with the research telescope!
  • With the big research scope decommissioned ready for its move, I thought I would dig through my image archives. This is barred spiral galaxy NGC1300.  I actually imaged this a year ago. Thank you to those offering help to relocate the observatory. During the move phase, I will offer a few more posts of things to go outside and see yourself, a few archived images and photos of broader areas of the sky.  So in short, I will keep on posting!
  • Sorry for not posting anything in a few days. I had been away this week and though I did image the International Space Station on Monday the 13th (below image), I haven't had time to do more. If the storms continue, maybe I will image lightning tonight. I will also get more planning and pegging out done at the new site over the weekend. Hopefully soon things will progress at the new site!
  • The Sculptor Galaxy NGC 253. As you may notice, a favourite of mine. I imaged this a few weeks ago while getting the observatory ready for its move. Progress is much slower than planned for the relocation. It is now early 2018 before tours will happen again. As we have to fund the move ourselves (no grants or sponsorships have been offered) I am already making a few cut backs to the plans for the new site. The major cost (worry) is the shed to house the museum.
  • The International Space Station made a nice pass over our region on the evening of the 23rd of October. Using a lot of magnification, I was able to image it (at a distance of  475km)
  • These four galaxies are known as the Grus Quartet. They are about 55 million light years away. The observatory move is progressing slowly, actually much slower than I thought!
  • Old school imaging (kind of). Taken with a very cheap 80mm F5 refracting telescope, on a basic motor driven mount, no computers driving the mount or camera, no automatic guiding. It shows what you can do with basic equipment. The galaxy is M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. From Australia it is very low down in the northern sky.
  • Well it is now officially ours. This is the view of the proposed site of the observatory (we are going to keep but move the sheds). Sometime (soonish) we hope to host a BBQ for all our nearby neighbours at Billywillinga! Thank you to all those that have welcomed us to the area!
  • While some people watched football games over the weekend, I was outside with the Moon. We are all geared up to start our move to the new site from this weekend. Tours will start again  as soon as I can. It marks a new and exciting chapter in the observatory!
  • M27, It is a bubble of gas shed from a dying star. The colours are due to gases like oxygen and hydrogen. This is how our sun will end its life in about 4 billion years from now.
  • The Moon on the 25th of September. Sometimes it is nice to image wider angle, rather than just close ups. The telescope that imaged the Moon is one I built in the mid 80's!
  • Known as the "War and Peace" Nebula NGC 6357 is located in Scorpius. It is fairly faint and took a bit of imaging to capture! A big thank you as well to all those turned up for the Sky Stories astronomy night in Orange. There is an even bigger event in the planning for Bathurst in 2018.
  • I will be in Orange for an Astronomy Night on Wednesday the 20th! Hope to see you there!
  • All telescopic "eyes" will be watching Saturn on Friday evening (the 15th) as the Cassini space probe ends its mission of imaging Saturn and its moons. The probe is scheduled to burn up in Saturn's atmosphere and there is a very slight possibility it may be imaged from powerful telescopes on Earth. I did a practice run on the evening of the 10th of Sept to make sure all was working prior to this event.
  • NGC 6188 is a nebula about 4000 light years away in the constellation of Ara. A nearby star cluster causes the hydrogen gas to glow, while thicker regions appear dark. It is in areas like this that new stars are formed. I imaged this about a month ago!
  • Thank you everyone for the support after our relocation to a new site announcement! I tried something new on the evening of the 28th August. I tried to image the International Space Station. It is about 100m in size but 400km above us, therefore presents a REAL challenge to image (like imaging a football field 400km away!). This is my first attempt, so I hope they will get better next time I try!
  • The sun on the 20th August 2017 (9:15am local) imaged using our solar telescope. For my friends in the U.S, there is a significant group of sunspots (AR 2671) that should make for some great images for your total solar eclipse on Monday (for those in the U.S observe safely, and only image with the correct equipment). For everyone else, I hope you enjoy the image of the sun today!
  • A truly wonderful galaxy! This is NGC 6744, and it is located about 30 million light years away (in the constellation of Pavo). If we could look back on our own milky way galaxy from far away, this is pretty much how it would look. I will announce what is happening with the observatory and its future at the official opening of the observatory images and meteorites exhibition on Tuesday evening. I will then post information on this page!!!!
  • The Trifid nebula and surrounding milky way region. One of the best colour contrasts in the sky. The pink glow of hydrogen gas excited by young stars, and the blue light of stars being reflected off surrounding gas.
  • There are about 400,000 stars in globular star cluster NGC 6397. It is about 7,200 light years away in the southern constellation of Ara. I don't normally post images of these clusters, as they are not as visually stunning as nebula, planets etc!
  • I changed the configuration of the telescope for this image of M17, the Swan Nebula. Not sure if I like it or not! (For the technically minded, it was imaged at F7 rather than F2). The future of the observatory and maybe the new site, I will announce VERY soon.
  • Galaxy M83 was on my list to image last week. I know I have imaged this before, but there is just something wonderful about this barred spiral galaxy.

Meteorite Identification, in Australia

Bathurst Observatory Research Facility Meteorite Verification and Valuation

Bathurst Observatory Research Facility, Australia, has one of the only public displays of meteorites in NSW west of Sydney in our Meteorite Museum. We have over 200 specimens on display, ranging from witnessed falls to historical pieces. You can come and see our display of space models, minerals, fossils and meteorites via prior booking.

We also study meteorites as part of our research goals, and have published a number of papers about meteorites.

We can also offer some services to meteorite collectors and researches wishing to display their specimens. These are detailed below. We can offer a free verification service, so if you think you may have found a meteorite, we can help. We do not normally sell many meteorites at the observatory, however, we do have some from time to time. Meteorites for sale will be listed on this page. 

 

Prices for services include GST in U.S dollars. All prices may vary, subject to the quantity you require. Prices valid for 2015  Issued 13/4/15

Please note to use the email address for meteorite enquiries. Or phone 02 6337 3988. (Overseas, +61 2 6337 3988)

Meteorite Identification and Verification Services.

 

I AM ONLY UNDERTAKING THE VERIFICATION OR VALUATION SERVICES TO A LIMITED NUMBER OF FINDERS. ANY NEW FINDERS ARE ASKED TO EMAIL TO BE VERIFIED BEFORE I WILL EXAMINE THEIR PIECE. I WILL NOT ACCEPT PHONE CALLS.

 

This service is used to examine specimens that you think may be meteorites. However we do ask the following.

In order to undertake analysis of the specimen provide

 

  1. If the sample is to be returned, please include a pre-payed return postage package or cheque to cover postage.
  2. In order to undertake analysis of the specimen provided, a sample may need to be removed for testing.
  3. You must remain courteous and respectful and accept that if I say it isn't a meteorite, it isn't, despite what your Google searches tell you! 
  4. We will identify the most likely type of meteorite, if tested positive, or identify what the sample is if not a meteorite.
  5. If the sample does turn out to be a meteorite, we ask that a sample (approximately 1/4 mass or up to 750grams) can be retained by us for research or display. We will then also give you a valuation estimate on the remaining mass.
  6. In some states (eg Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory) meteorites may be the property of the state.
  7. Charges may apply for testing.

 

We can also put you in contact with people that wish to purchase any specimen off you.

Before you send anything, it is best to email a picture first, and check your specimen against the meteorites imaged below.

Below are images of two freshly fallen stony type meteorites. Note they are ash grey inside (not black) and they DO NOT have bubbles, air holes or quartz. Yes a magnet will stick to them, but note there are also a lot of Earth rocks that a magnet will stick to as well. Iron meteorites will look like rusty lumps of iron, and unlikely to be found in humid or wet areas , as they rust away fairly quickly.

 

Iron meteorites will look like rusty lumps of iron, and unlikely to be found in humid or wet areas , as they rust away fairly quickly  Iron meteorites will look like rusty lumps of iron, and unlikely to be found in humid or wet areas , as they rust away fairly quickly

 

Meteorite Recovery

If you witnessed a meteorite fall, or think you know where one has landed, we have a small team of meteorite experts than can locate falls, or offer advice on how to recover and preserve the specimens properly for later research.

Meteorite Petrology

We can give full mineral descriptions of meteorites after making a microscope slide and examining the specimen under our petrological microscope. Petrology is basically the study of the minerals and their characteristics. We take pride in our extensive knowledge in meteorite petrology and are internationally highly respected in this field. (Petrology is undertaken for a small fee of $80, it is free for confirmed new Australian finds dependent on the conditions above).


Valuations

If you have a meteorite that has already been verified, we can give you an approximate valuation based off its type and size upon examination. This can be done by emailing the information together with an image of the specimen with a ruler for scale and the weight. Or the specimen can be sent to us with return postage for a more accurate valuation. We can be paid via pay pal if you want to!

Email Valuations (Valuation sent upon receipt of cheque) =$5

Valuation after physical examination of specimen = $10

Though not an endorsed valuation company, our valuations are fair and recognised amongst leading mineral dealers within Australia.

MATERIAL FOR Sale

Meteorite odds and ends for sale. Unclassified but Studied Meteorites

I have pieces that are odds and ends of pieces I have cut. I have a few of them, and if there is a size or rough type you want, let me know and I'll look through the pile.

Pieces from 1 gram up to a few hundred grams. They are all stony chondrite types.

Prices are $1 per gram for bagged pieces.
(Though any over 100 grams drop to 75 cent to 50 cents per gram. Basically the bigger they are, the cheaper per gram). 

They all have either a cut face or ground face to show off the interior!

Bulk Meteorites

I also now have a large number of polished ends and slices from a few grams to about 60 grams. These have been given an extra high polish to highlight the interiors. There are a large number of them at $1 per gram. 

I also have meteorites that are a lot larger too!

Each will come with a label and are bagged ready to go to new homes..

Bulk Meteorites:  I also now have a large number of polished ends and slices

UPDATE!!! Iron Meteorites

I have been asked to sell some iron meteorites from Henbury, collected a long time ago, on behalf of a collector.  They are a range of sizes from a few grams up to about 80 grams. Just email or call me if you are interested. ($2 per gram).

Iron Meteorites

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    Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

    (Open Night Tours, Research and Meteorite related enquires)
    624 Rossmore Park, Limekilns Rd, KELSO NSW 2795. Australia
    Phone: 02 6337 3988 | International: +61 2 6337 3988
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